Nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs) are areas designated as being at risk from agricultural nitrate pollution. If a farm is in an NVZ, it must comply with the NVZ rules.
Farms should have been informed in writing by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) if a farm wishes to find out if their land is in an NVZ, they can view field boundary maps of NVZs in England on the Defra website. These detailed regional maps also identify deferred slurry storage areas. For farmers with land in these areas, the date for complying with the slurry storage requirements has been extended by one year to 1 January 2013.
NVZ and cross compliance
To qualify for full payment under the SPS and other direct payments - eg the Environmental Stewardship schemes – a farm must meet all relevant cross compliance requirements. These requirements are split into two types:
- Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs)
- requirements to keep your land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAECs)
If a farm is in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone it can claim payments under SPS, but they must comply with SMR 4 in order to claim.
GAEC 19 - No Spread Zones
These requirements are aimed at protecting water against pollution and run-off from agricultural sources. This standard came into force from 1 January 2012.
NVZ Grassland Derogation update
Owing to the recent heavy rainfall, the Environment Agency is already accepting grassland derogation applications.
Defra have increased the end date for the farming online application process to the end of April 2013 to overcome any difficulties from a potential shortened application period and the Easter weekend.
Farms will be able to apply online through the Farming Online website from 1 March until 30 April 2013.